Linux NTFS support

From NAS-Central Buffalo - The Linkstation Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search


For a long time, only reading a NTFS partition was available in Linux. It is a limitation for NAS devices as it means that a plugged USB drive that is in NTFS format will not be able in the network to store/modify data on this drive ! But there are, now, some solutions to gain write access to NTFS partitions. We will list the available solutions and benchmark them ...

Available solutions

Stock kernel's NTFS support (all platforms)

The NTFS support that is in the Linux kernel is only allowing read operations on NTFS disk.

Mounting a partition can be done using this command :

mount -t ntfs /dev/'device' mountpoint

FUSE + NTFS-3G (all platforms)

This solution is the easiest to install, and is available for MIPS, PPC & ARM devices !

You need to compile the fuse support in your kernel and to compile Fuse and NTFS-3G.

Mounting a partition can be done using this command :

mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/'device' mountpoint

Paragon Software NTFS for Linux (ARM only)

This solution have been developed by Paragon Software.

The ARM version is not publicly available and I had to sign a NDA to receive the module for benchmarking. The source code is not available but the driver have been compiled for a Marvell CPU close to the one used in our ARM9 devices. The point in testing that is to show if this solution is fast enought to be embedeed in a NAS device like the Linkstation Pro (and other NAS using the same Marvell's SoC).

It's have been compiled for a kernel (same as the Linkstation stock kernel) but require some modules that are not in the stock Linkstation Pro system. The tested driver is :

UFSD version 6.02 (Oct  4 2007, 16:33:44)
NTFS read/write support included
$Id: ufsdvfs.c,v 1.117 2007/09/17 14:38:11 shura Exp $

Mounting a partition can be done using this command :

mount -t ufsd /dev/'device' mountpoint

Benchmarking results

A Kurobox Pro (running @ 400MHz) and Bonnie++ v1.03a benchmarking tool have been used to benchmark the filesystems.

  • EXT3 benchmarking have been done using a 2.6.24-rc3 (Orion) kernel
  • FUSE v2.7.1 + NTFS-3G v1.1120 benchmarking have been done using a 2.6.24-rc3 (Orion) kernel
  • NTFS-3G v1.1128 benchmarking have been done using a 2.6.24-rc3 (Orion) kernel
  • Paragon Software NTFS for Linux driver (marvell_ufsd_slow.ko) benchmarking have been done using kernel

Sequential Output Sequential Input Random Sequential Create Random Create
Per Chr Block Rewrite Per Chr Block Seeks Create Read Delete Create Read Delete
Size K/sec %CP K/sec %CP K/sec %CP K/sec %CP K/sec %CP /sec %CP Files /sec %CP /sec %CP /sec %CP /sec %CP /sec %CP /sec %CP
EXT3 / internal disk 300M 1893 97 21213 75 17732 59 1688 99 47158 91 227.7 7 16 3578 98 +++++ +++ 6147 99 3654 98 +++++ +++ 6139 98
Paragon's NTFS driver / internal disk 300M 1548 96 12780 69 18430 15 1674 98 26814 2 227.6 4 16 181 60 16191 83 278 53 67 26 +++++ +++ 32 9
NTFS-3G v1.1120 + FUSE v2.7.1 / internal disk 300M 911 48 1708 9 1853 14 1554 99 12707 11 137.5 3 16 167 8 566 12 188 7 182 9 590 12 183 6
NTFS-3G v1.1128 (including FUSE) / internal disk 300M 937 50 1705 9 1831 14 1573 99 12958 11 136.9 4 16 175 8 571 11 193 7 187 8 592 11 175 5


Fuse + NTFS-3G give some slow performances on a Linkstation Pro/Kurobox Pro (and it should be worst on PPC based devices). In real usage configuration (ie : using an USB drive in NTFS format), performances will even be slower because of the USB driver taking CPU time ... We'll have to wait for this driver to be in optimization phase to have decent writing speed !

The Paragon Software driver is 2x faster than ntfs-3g for reading data and 7.5x faster for writing data. It's a commercial product that is perfect for NAS builders who want to add efficient NTFS support in their NAS, but for communities like ours, it's useless (because it's not available for individual persons and because it's linked to a specific kernel version).